Blogging, college campus, learning, Personal growth

5 Lessons teaching has taught me

Another semester is winding down. As exam week nears, I’m prompted to reflect on some of the lessons I’ve learned through teaching college students for the past few years.

I should preface this by saying, I never imagined myself in a teaching position. Getting a last minute request to help fill in for a professor on family leave, I agreed. Little did I know how much I would love it. I quickly realized the opportunity and honor it is to positively impact the lives of so many young people.

Honestly, I often feel like a student myself. I learn as much from my students as they learn from me. The discussions and questions posed by students in classes force me to think deeper, consider opinions I haven’t, and help me to see things from beyond my own perspective. The following list includes some of the lessons I’ve learned so far. I look forward to continuing to learn and grow with every class of students.

5 Lessons learned from teaching

  1. Have an open-mind. Students are growing up in a world very different from the one we grew up in. Knowing this helps in understanding how and why they think differently.
  2. Everyone can be successful, if they want to be. Passing my classes is not hard, it requires commitment. Most students have it, sadly some do not.
  3. Listening takes practice. Learn to listen, I mean really listen and not think about whether you agree/disagree and how you’ll respond. Biting your tongue and focusing are a lot harder than you think.
  4. Recognize your personal biases, and get past them. We all have them, but we don’t all recognize them. Once you do, you will no longer judge others. An important step — in teaching and life.
  5. Be humble. I may have years more life experience than my students, but I don’t know everything … not even close. Every day students open my eyes to things I never knew and would not know if not for them teaching me. This keeps me humble and grounded.

Before entering the classroom, I received a piece of sage advice from a long-time mentor and now fellow colleague. It’s something I remind myself of regularly … “you can only teach the ones who want to be taught”. This relates to lesson #2 on my list above … they’ve gotta want it. This stands true in all of life, actually. You know the old saying … you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. It is true.

This is perhaps the hardest of all lessons in teaching, and one I can’t say I’ve “learned” yet. It’s hard to not feel responsible for every student. And, I tend to take it personally when a student does not do well.

Admittedly, I need to get over feeling whatever a student does in my class has to do with me. If they’re on their phones, laptops or have earbuds in, I feel disrespected and frustrated. But, I remind myself as hard as I work to reach every student and present lessons in a way that is relevant and interesting — I can only teach those who want to be taught.

I know I will continuously work on learning this lesson. If you are or have ever been in a teaching role, what are some of the lessons you’ve learned.D


A hockey mom’s final game

Senior night — celebrating our senior #10 Ryan

The end of another hockey season. Not just any season … the final season. One more “done” checked off the list for senior year. One step closer to an empty nest.

The closing of this chapter hits harder than others. The past 18 years have been spent bundled up in ice rinks cheering on both of our son’s teams. I remember people warning us not to allow our boys to play hockey … “it’s so expensive”, “very time consuming”, “there’s so much travel”. All true, but I wouldn’t trade the time, travel and money spent for anything.

#10 Ryan … going after the puck

Yes, I openly admit … I am a “hockey mom”. I could be heard shouting from the stands and caught wearing my player’s photo button and team colors. I’m not apologizing and have no regrets, as I hang up my blue and gold scarf and bleacher blanket.

So many lessons learned on and off the ice, beyond just the skills of the game. And, the players were not the only ones to gain from the experience. Life lessons were learned by everyone involved … players, parents, families and friends. The thing about team sports, the character-building take aways are invaluable.

My hockey boys – Robert and Ryan

Team-building, leadership, loyalty, diligence, respect, perseverance, the ability to manage failure and the value of hard work … just a few of the important attributes gained from team sports. Not the type of things typically taught in the classroom.

Seeing teams bond and grow throughout a season is quite a transformation. We’ve watched players develop from wobbly youngsters trying to remain upright on skates to young adults banging opponents into the boards. Starting as Mini Mites, they grew into Mites to Squirts to Pee Wees to Bantoms, where checking was officially introduced, and finally to the High School team.

Team dinner and game night

Friendships were formed through the camaraderie of teammates and the gathering of families cheering in the stands. We cheered together for goals scored, held our breath for players down on the ice, high fived for big wins and hugged tight for tough losses.

As the Zamboni clears the ice following the final game, I hold back tears. I also holdfast to the memories and know for certain the time, money and travel dedicated to hockey over the years will serve our sons well for what’s next, and throughout the rest of their lives.

Mt. Pleasant Patriots Pee Wee Team

Blogging, favorite things, happiness

5 things to love about being snowed in

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The polar vortex, along with record-breaking frigid temperatures have resulted in 10 snow days in the past two weeks. Stir crazy and cabin fever don’t begin to describe the current situation. Normally, I don’t mind being cooped up in my own house, but that’s when staying home is my choice. Snowed-in is different.

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Being homebound does have its advantages though. (Trying for a “half-full” attitude here). The time indoors has allowed me to appreciate the true comforts of home. I am adding these to my list of favorite things.

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Comfort #1 — Head bands and pony tails. The hair goes up and off my face immediately upon getting home. Admittedly, not my best look but I’m home and it’s comfortable.

Comfort #2 — Sweat pants or leggings. At home, an elastic waist is mandatory. The second thing I do when coming through the door at the end of the day is change into comfy clothes. These are also known as “little clothes” in our family, according to my father-in-law.

Comfort #3 — Slippers. My husband calls them my “work shoes.” Working from a home office, slippers are definitely my preferred foot ware. I wear slippers more than any shoes in my closet. (Not admitting to the number of shoes in my collection).

Comfort #4 — Make-up free days. If it’s truly an at-home day, I take full advantage of the chance to skip the make-up.  On partial at-home days, I opt for partial make-up which typically means eye-liner but no mascara.

Comfort #5 — Afternoon tea. At exactly 3 p.m. everyday for as long as I can remember, my eyelids get heavy. If anyone checked up on me at this time of the day, they’d be sure to find me sitting in front of my computer screen with my head bobbing. To combat the fatigue, I brew a strong cup of tea … green tea, following doctor’s orders.

I could probably add a few more to this list. What would you include on your list of favorite things in your home sweet home? Please share.

Bargain shopping, Blogging, Clearance sales, favorite things, Shop Local, shopping, Wine

Bye Bye Grocery Store, Hello Shipt

I just placed my very first order for groceries through Shipt. Not sure why it’s taken me so long to jump on board. It definitely hasn’t taken me any time to get hooked. Seriously, why didn’t I do it sooner?

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Talk about time savings. Literally, I spent maybe 15 minutes shopping for the week’s groceries, and another 10 minutes putting everything away once delivered. Typically a trip to Meijer would take more than an hour, and then there’s getting home unloading from car to house and putting away.


My Mother-in-law once counted the number of times we actually touch groceries in the process of shopping  — six times. Think about it … we take items from the shelf to the shopping cart, from cart to conveyor at checkout, from checkout back to cart, from cart to trunk of car, from trunk to house, from house to pantry. That’s a lot of time spent.

I seriously believe our grocery budget will decrease in this process. Honestly, not entering the store means I won’t be tempted to stray into the clothing, shoes and jewelry sections while shopping for groceries. I mentioned this to my husband. He’s waiting for evidence. He really has no idea how often extras get tossed in the cart and thus included in the grocery budget.

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Admittedly, I was somewhat skeptical about the opportunity for savings. As a big sale shopper, many of my selections are based on weekly sales and clearance stickers. The prices included in the weekly sales are offered online through Shipt.

In signing up, I took advantage of a deal Shipt occasionally offers  … $49 for annual membership. I considered it a gift to myself. And what a gift it has been. My first order included some heavy items … 40 lb bag of dog food and 50 lb bags of softener salt. I don’t miss lugging those big things around six times.

My Shipt Shopper was great. She communicated with me via text throughout the entire shopping trip. Letting me know when the store was out of certain items and inquiring about replacements and asking if I needed anything else before checking out. I actually added toilet paper to the list while she was still at the store.

Perhaps the best part of all, I was able to include four bottles of wine in my order. Delivered directly to my doorstep … what could be better. Like I said, oh what a gift Shipt has been.

If you decide to join Shipt (and I highly suggest you do, they also offer 2 week free trials) if you don’t mind, mention my name when signing up. You can earn cash back for referring friends.

I’m eager to hear from others who have already joined the Shipt family. What’s your experience been like? And those who opt to join, please let me know how your first order goes. Here’s hoping it’s as smooth as mine.


Bargain shopping, Blogging, Clearance sales, favorite things, shopping

Summer Shoes on Sale


Attention shoppers; sale in the shoe aisle. With the 4th of July behind us, summer merchandise is on its way out. That means clearance tags and lots of deals to be had. My latest find was on shoes at Walmart.

I’ve acquired some great additions to my shoe collection from Walmart, and the prices … can’t be beat when the sales are on. Okay, so shoes were not on the list on my last shopping trip. But, this time of  year a stroll through the shoe department is required.

Lots of choices marked down. Trust me, it was tough to limit myself to only tossing two pairs of shoes into my cart. At $9 each, these were a steal. And, I left feeling like a winner in the latest treasure hunt.


There’s still time to check out the clearance sales in the shoe aisle. And, I’m sure Walmart’s shoe department is not the only place you’ll find great deals  right now. But, don’t delay. Great deals don’t last long.

Bargain shopping, Blogging, favorite things, flowers, gardening, happiness

Flower power! Best bloomin deals


Even when shopping for flowers, I’m looking for the best deal. Admittedly, I was a bit late to the game in purchasing flowers for our cottage this year. A cool, late spring and surprise vacation to Ireland put me a week or two behind. I set out last Friday on a quest to find flowers to fill my pots, and the best deal.


First stop was Talma’s Celery Farm, a small family-owned flower spot with what seems like an endless amount of greenhouses. Typically, they have the best prices to be found and incredible selection of hanging baskets and fillers for pots. Strolling through the greenhouses, the hanging baskets were positively amazing, and at 3 for $30, the prices could not be beat. I picked up 3 baskets, even though I only have hanging space for two. The selection of flowers for pots was rather slim, unfortunately. I picked up as much as possible, but not enough.

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To fill all of my pots, a trip to another flower source was required. Local choices include Walmart, Menards, Home Depot and Meijer. I opted for Meijer, which had an impressive collection of flowers on a visit earlier in the season.

At this point, Meijer’s selection was rather slim, too. I managed to gather enough odds and ends to fill my pots. One good thing about waiting to buy flowers, prices are reduced.

A few years ago, I challenged myself to filling my pots and hanging baskets for $100. It was rather late in season then, too. The result was some of the most beautiful flowers I’d planted in years. I ended up a bit over $100 this year. I’m optimistic my pots will flourish into a gorgeous display this year, too. I’d love to hear about and see your flowers this year. Please share your photos and best deals in comments.

Bargain shopping, Blogging, Clearance sales, favorite things, Shop Local, shopping

Clearance sale in the jewelry department

My unrelenting quest to find the best deal lead me to the jewelry section of our local Meijer store. It’s the retail store I frequent most often, as it’s my go-to for groceries. Admittedly, though, what ends up in my cart is not always what’s included on my grocery list.

Strolling through the jewelry department, a bright orange sign caught my eye. The big bold letters C-L-E-A-R-A-N-C-E were irresistible. The sale prices were too good to be true. Seriously, check out these price tags … necklaces for $1.60, bracelets for $1.40 and earrings for $1.00. Way too good to pass up, and time to stock up.


I love costume jewelry. I believe a bit of sparkle and glitter is like the icing on a cake to any outfit. And finding such rock bottom prices, well that’s the best ever. Can’t promise there’ll be much selection left (especially after I hit the sale rack), but nonetheless, worth checking the jewelry department on your next trip to Meijer. I’m eager to hear what deals you find. Do share!